an excellent manual drip coffee maker, and looks cool on my counter, too.
Positive Product Points
It looks fantastic. The Chemex filter allows the water to stay in contact with coffee grounds for just the right amount of time to extract great flavor. Any grinder can be used, even a whirly blade, with excellent results.
Negative Product Points
First, you have to heat water (no big deal; I do it for my press pot and my vac pot as well), but then you have to manually pour the water which can be kind of boring if you're just standing there watching it drip through.
First, you should know there are two versions of Chemex coffee makers - a handblown (heavier glass, larger) version selling for about $60+ and a machine blown (thinner glass, smaller) version selling for about $30+. I was lucky enough to get a used, excellent-condition, handblown version for $17 on ebay. The ratings above for Quality (9) and Cost v. Value (7) are for a new $60+ handblown version. For a new machine blown model, I imagine Quality and Cost v. Value would each be an 8, or perhaps Quality (7) and Cost v. Value (9). Perhaps Aesthetics may also drop from a 10 to a 9 in the machine blown model because of a slightly different shape.
As to their coffee making ability, I'm certain that both versions are equal. The Chemex filters are thicker than standard drip coffee maker filters which makes for a slow, even drip. I tried twice without much success to use a standard #4 filter before I received my Chemex filter order. In my first attempt the filter broke, and in the second try the drip was too fast.
Another reviewer here recommended not using the unbleached filters, but I cannot agree. I got the unbleached filters on Tom's recommendation at www.sweetmarias.com. I haven't noticed a cardboard taste.
The time it takes to pour is a minor complaint because one can't pour all the water in at once. The Chemex is very forgiving on your grind setting. Even a whirly blade's uneven grounds can be used with great success.
I boil water in a tea kettle, then move it to a cold burner for 30-60 seconds to allow it to cool down to about 200 degrees F before pouring on the grounds. As long as you use the right amount of coffee and water, you'll have great, hot coffee better than any typical auto drip.
I bought from a private seller on ebay without problem, but YMMV. I got excellent service on my filter order from www.sweetmarias.com.
Three Month Followup
I love the looks of this coffee maker! This is the fastest way to make coffee. I pour a little water into the filter to wet the grounds, wait a few seconds, then pour the rest of the water up to the capacity. I also give the coffee and water a quick stir right after the pour.
One Year Followup
I use the Chemex square unbleached filters, and have been very happy with them. They are available at my local Cost Plus World Market. This is the coffee maker I use when I have company over and want to make a pot quickly.